Quantum Computing
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Publication date: 2019-11-23
Eurasian J Anal Chem 2017;12(3):70–77
After some remarks on the fundamental physical nature of information, Bennett and Fredkin’s ideas reversible computation are introduced. This leads to the suggestions of Benioff and Feynman as to the possibility of a new type of essentially ‘quantum computer’. If we happen to build such devices, Deutsch scientists showed that‘quantum parallelism’ leads to new algorithms and new complexity classes. This is dramatically illustrated by Shor's quantum algorithm for factorization which is polynomial in time in contrast to algorithms for factorization on a classical Turing computer. This discovery has potentially important implications for the security of many modern cryptographic systems. The fundamentals of quantum computing are then introduced - reversible logic gates, qubits and quantum registers. The key quantum property of ‘entanglement’ is described, with due homage to Einstein and Bell. As an illustration of a quantum program, Grover's database search algorithm is described in some detail. After all this theory, the status of experimental attempts to build a quantum computer is reviewed: it will become evident that we have a long way to go before we can factorize even small numbers. Finally, we end with some thoughts about the process of ‘quantum compilation’ - translating a quantum algorithm into actual physical operations on a quantum system - and some comments on prospects for future progress.